Pole vaulting in the chapel, bicycling in the laundromat, sky diving in the elevator shaft – such seemingly surrealist combinations of spaces and unexpected uses were outlined by architect Bernard Tschumi as early as 1983. The Löwenbräu building in Zurich is a striking example of this tendency (which has meanwhile become a fashion) to assign new functions to existing urban structures.
Pipilotti Rist, the Swiss video artist, has her first show at the Galerie Hauser & Wirth, inaugurating their new exhibition space on the ground floor of the former brewery building. Her new video installation, conceived specially for this space, makes the stimulating potential of the idea of converting and reprogramming spaces the starting point of her intervention.
Communicating with the existing architecture and its former use, Pipilotti Rist examines potential other, new activities that can take place in a space apart from its objectivised use. Her goal is to activate widely differing, simultaneous and overlapping uses. Leaving the architecture as authentic and intact as possible, she follows the transparently readable traces of the work once done here: beer spurts from the tiled pillars, and rusty iron hooks jut out into the room. The space conjures up images oscillating from a sacred cathedral to a mysterious hammam or a copper beverage storage.
The video projections focus on the fuzzy boundaries between inside and outside with concentrated, almost autistic attentiveness. The floatingly subjective camera pays homage to the traces of human activity.
It takes a human being to experience space, and so the experiencing visitor becomes part of the artist’s probing: is it human movement and activity that generate the experience of a space? Does movement and body behaviour for example in a fitness studio differ from that in an exhibition space? Is body behaviour caught up in predetermined patterns of use? Do different spatial concepts bring about different patterns of movement, gaze and body awareness? What happens if contexts of use overlap – if for example people exercise in an exhibition space while others look at art exhibits in a fitness studio? And is it not that after visiting an art show we feel the need for mental and physical relaxation in a meditative landscape?
This exhibition project is in collaboration with CIT Trainings-Center, Limmatstrasse 270, CH-8005 Zürich.
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About the artist
Pipilotti Rist, a pioneer of spatial video art, was born 1962 in Grabs in the Swiss Rhine Valley on the Austrian Border and has been a central figure within the international art scene since the mid-1980s. Astounding the art world with the…Learn more